Why Benching Trent Richardson Was Insanely Stupid Move by Pat Shurmur

Jesse ReedCorrespondent INovember 5, 2016

Oct 14, 2012; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Browns running back Trent Richardson (33) during a game against the Cincinnati Bengals at Cleveland Browns Stadium. Cleveland won 34-24. Mandatory Credit: David Richard-US PRESSWIRE
David Richard-US PRESSWIRE

Cleveland Browns running back Trent Richardson was reportedly begging to get back into the game after Pat Shurmur benched him—the latest in a long line of mind-boggling decisions made by the deservedly embattled head coach. 

When Richardson was asked about the Shumur's decision to bench him he responded: "That's something you will have to ask Pat. For me, I thought I should have been in the game, but that's any athlete, anyone who has that fight in him and is competitive," via The Plain Dealer's Tom Reed.

According to Reed's report, Shurmur's reasoning for benching his star running back was, ""He just, in my opinion, the way the game was going wasn't quite effective and maybe the injury contributed."

I can think of another person to whom the "wasn't quite effective" label works quite well...

With all due respect to Shurmur as a man and as a coach who has made his way up to the highest level in his industry, his decision to bench Richardson after just eight carries was utterly asinine. 

Shurmur ended up only calling for 17 total running plays in this game against the Indianapolis Colts—nine of which were run by players not named Richardson. Furthermore, running backs only caught three passes after Richardson left the game. 

Essentially, putting Richardson on the bench made the Browns completely one-dimensional.

As a result, the Browns only managed to rush for 55 yards (Brandon Weeden ran for 13 of them) against the same team that had just allowed the New York Jets to rush for 252 yards and three touchdowns the week before. 

I get that Richardson wasn't playing at 100 percent. That's not in question here.

The thing I can't comprehend is that Richardson was cleared by the doctors to play and was reportedly begging to play, yet Shurmur thought his team somehow had a better chance to win without him, and subsequently, without a running game at all.

In what universe does a strategy like that work, especially against the Colts who can't stop anyone from running wild?

If Shurmur is still the head coach after this season, the only thing I can surmise is that the Browns are truly a cursed franchise that is and forever will be an NFL pariah. 


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